Camilla describes ‘pleasure’ of gifting Paddington bears to vulnerable children

pa ready, hugh bonneville, london, buckingham palace, windsor, platinum jubilee, westminster, clarence house, trafalgar square, camilla describes ‘pleasure’ of gifting paddington bears to vulnerable children

The Queen Consort during a special teddy bears picnic at a Barnardo’s Nursery in Bow, London, where she personally delivered Paddington Bears and other cuddly toys, which were left as tributes to Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Residences, to children supported by the charity. Picture date: Thursday November 24, 2022. (PA Wire)

The Queen Consort has described it as “a pleasure” to re-home Paddington bears with vulnerable children at a nursery after thousands of the toys were left in tribute to the late monarch.

Camilla chatted with dozens of youngsters cared for by Barnardo’s charity at Bow day nursery in east London, during a picnic complete with marmalade sandwiches.

She was joined by Paddington film cast members Hugh Bonneville and Madeleine Harris, and author Michael Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel, for whom he wrote the stories.

During the visit, Camilla gave the children Paddington bear toys which members of the public had left at the Long Walk in Windsor and outside Buckingham Palace following the Queen’s death in September.

The royal family has donated more than 1,000 bears to Barnardo’s, and each toy was professionally cleaned ahead of being delivered to the charity.

On Thursday, Camilla was greeted by Barnardo’s chief executive Lynn Perry MBE and its chair of trustees John Bartlett before being taken on a tour of the nursery by team manager Shamima Ahmed.

The Queen Consort joined a group of children aged two and under around a table, and two-year-old Noa Nkemdirim hovered nearby until Camilla gave her a hug.

Making a mess? We love a bit of mess

Queen Consort

Camilla also spoke with a circle of older children who were playing with blue foam, asking them: “What are we doing here?

“Making a mess? We love a bit of mess.”

To mark the end of her visit, the Queen Consort shared marmalade sandwiches seated beside Mr Bonneville, Ms Harris and Ms Jankel, while around 40 children sat cross-legged at their feet.

Three-year-old Oscar Isherwood shouted: “I don’t like marmalade” while others clamoured to receive a bear from the Queen Consort.

Camilla gently told the children to place the tiny boots on their Paddington bears “otherwise he won’t be able to go outside”.

Bonneville, who plays Mr Brown, read Bond’s story “Paddington Takes a Bath” to the children, echoing the way their bears had all needed a clean before arriving at the nursery.

As she stood to depart, Camilla told the children and their carers: “It has been a pleasure to find a home for these bears – please look after them carefully”.

Carer Leighann Ives and three-year-old Serena Wicks presented the Queen Consort with a bouquet and a thank-you note.

Camilla had travelled to the nursery in a car filled with some of the Paddingtons, on a journey from Clarence House in Westminster, along the Mall and past London landmarks including Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge.

The visit comes after Camilla was pictured surrounded by teddies in a photo taken on October 13 to mark the 64th anniversary of the publication of the first Paddington Bear book.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee sketch in the summer saw the Peruvian bear visit Buckingham Palace for afternoon tea, during which the Queen produced a marmalade sandwich from her handbag.

It prompted mourners to leave teddy bears and even some marmalade sandwiches among the floral tributes which amassed outside royal residences following her death.

In 2016, the Queen passed the patronage of Barnardo’s to Camilla, who was then the Duchess of Cornwall.

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